It’s a convertible that stands out even among convertibles. And it’s not a sports car. It’s an SUV—possibly the only convertible SUV in the world.
Convertibles are usually sports cars, and often two-seater ones. In fact, a Google search of the word ‘convertible’ throws up images of the Ferraris, the Lamborghinis, the Mercs and the Jaguars. Convertibles often stand out wherever you take them—they are supposed to be ‘shown off’ to the world, even though they may or may not have the utility associated with a four-wheeler. Convertibles are sport, not transport.
But there is one convertible that stands out even among convertibles. And it’s not a sports car. It’s an SUV—possibly the only convertible SUV in the world. But can an SUV be a fashionable convertible? Logic says no, but Land Rover thinks otherwise.
The Range Rover Evoque is a classic design—with its striking lines, muscular shoulder and tapered roof—and has become synonyms with style and contemporary city life. But the Range Rover Evoque Convertible makes even the ‘regular’ Evoque look ancient, and, surprisingly, even with the roof closed. And once you open it, it’s an eye candy.
What stands out is what the company calls Z-folding roof—probably because the Z-like shape it assumes when you are opening/closing the roof. The roof is opened via a switch mounted on the centre console, and can be operated at speeds up to 48kph.
It’s powered by a 1997cc petrol engine that develops 237bhp of output and 340Nm of torque. On open roads, this engine is a monster—from any speed to any speed, it shoots the car ahead almost as soon as you floor the accelerator, and can give many sports cars a run for their money. It’s mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission that has drive selection features, and gets paddle shifters and a ‘sport’ mode. While we don’t have official fuel-efficiency figures, our test car returned 10kpl driving in and around Delhi—the SUV is equipped with the stop/start feature to save fuel.
And because it’s an SUV, it can be driven like one—it has a technology called the Roll Stability Control that reduces the possibility of a rollover, while providing the capability to steer around an obstacle or another road user. Then you have Hill Descent Control and Dynamic Stability Control … in short, it has the most ‘needed’ SUV features.
The Evoque Convertible also gets a technology called the All-Terrain Progress Control (ATPC) that enables you to set and maintain a steady speed in even challenging conditions. On tarmac, gravel, sand or snow, ATPC acts much like a low-speed cruise control in both forward and reverse gears.
At Rs 69.53 lakh (ex-showroom), the Evoque Convertible is Rs 7.59 lakh more expensive than the ‘regular’ Evoque. But is that worth it in the Indian driving cycle? Logic says no. For one, in urban Indian driving conditions, you almost always drive with the roof closed—heat, pollution and road dust will anyway spoil the cabin if you drive with an open roof. Second, even with the roof closed, soft-top convertibles can have a noisy cabin. But then these cars aren’t sold on logic. They are sold because they are distinctive, peculiar and have the ability to massage your ego.